Based upon a steamy novel by Donald Henderson Clarke, by the time The Impatient Maiden went through six writers and the Hays office, much of the "heat" had been removed from the storyline. Although the film was still a bit daring for 1930s audiences -- offering as it did a heroine with a fairly healthy sexual appetite -- the only part of the film that offers any real sizzle is a seduction sequence in the heroine's apartment. Much of the script is fairly muddled, but director James Whale does manage to capture a combination of cynicism and romance that is appealing. He also gets a chance to work in some of his trademark dolly shots, including a long sequence at the start of the film where the camera breaks through walls as it follows Mae Clarke throughout her small apartment. Whale also makes the operating room sequence captivating, due to his keen attention to detail; this sequence, ironically, has more life to it than most of the rest of the film. Both Clarke and Lew Ayres are fine in their roles, but they lack real inspiration and the chemistry that a film like this demands. Impatient Maiden is not a bad film, but there's very little in it that is compelling.
by Craig Butler review